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Centre nod to houses for BTAD riot-hit

Kokrajhar, Dec. 3: Altogether 11,941 families, whose houses were completely destroyed in the July-August violence in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts of Assam, will get new houses.

Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohilary told reporters here today that the Centre had already sanctioned the funds but he did not give details of the kind of houses to be built or the amount that has been sanctioned.

He said the status of land of the riot-affected families, along with the proposal for funds, had been furnished to the Centre.

“We have submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him and the government of India to rebuild new houses for the affected families. We are glad the Centre has sanctioned the funds,” he said.

Of the 11,941 families who will get new houses, 6,528 are below the poverty line, he added.

Mohilary also expressed concern over the recent split in the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), leading to the formation of a third faction of the outfit.

“We have been hearing in the news about a split in the NDFB. If it has really happened, it is very unfortunate. We don’t want more fractions among the groups as it may hamper the peace process. We appeal to the groups not to split at this crucial juncture when things are moving on the right track,” he said.

The NDFB, which was formed in 1994, first split in 2008 after the October 30 serial blasts in Assam, into Progressive and Ranjan Daimary factions.

The Progressive faction, led by its general secretary Govinda Basumatary alias B. Swmkhwr, signed a bilateral ceasefire with the Centre on May 25, 2005 and joined the peace talks.

The Daimary faction, whose leader is now in Guwahati Central Jail, has also entered informal talks with the Centre.

However, on November 20 this year, the Daimary faction stared at another split when its “chief of army staff” I.K. Songbijit announced the formation of an “interim national council” with himself as the “interim president”.

Songbijit’s group is said to be involved in the recent killing of tea planter and hotelier Adilur Rahman near Sootea in Sonitpur district.

Mohilary said the Bodo National Conference (BNC), a conglomeration of various Bodo organisations, of which he is the chief, has been pressing the government to expedite the peace process and hold talks with both the factions of the NDFB (Progressive and Daimary) and things were going on the right track.

The next Bodo National Conference meeting is scheduled for December 15-16.

The BTC chief also expressed concern over extortion and kidnapping in the Bodo belt. “There has been a rise in extortion and kidnapping in the area. We appeal to all groups to stop extor-tion/kidnapping as it may create more disturbance and misunderstanding,” he added.